Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Memories of birthdays past

HEAVEN help me! Don’t the years seem to fly by....and suddenly I’m celebrating my 60th birthday. 

Yes, I know I don’t look a day over 71, but such a landmark date in my life did provoke a few memories of previous birthdays gone by. 

I can remember as a child my late mother cooking the most delicious birthday cakes that had all my friends clamouring for extra pieces and I can remember as a student in Manchester being found sat quietly on a bag of cement in someone’s garage after a celebratory birthday night out got a bit too much for me on the way home. 

There have been numerous celebrations since in Weymouth from nights out with family and friends to a special celebration event for my 50th at Weymouth Football Club. 

But the years take their toll and for my 60th I decided to hold open house for a few hours in my garden and invite various friends and fellow members of the Press round for a few glasses of home-made lemonade and a scone. 

For some reason I couldn’t find the lemonade and we had to make do with a delicious range of real ales, various wines and other potables plus staple hack fare of bread, cheese, pork pies and sausage rolls so familiar of any reporter trying to grab a bite while working, and we also enjoyed home-made Black Forest gateaux which I loved. 

It was a great day with lashings of nostalgia and lots of humour surrounded by at least 40 of those whose company I enjoy, some of whom I have known locally way back to 1980. 

Even more my oldest friend, who I’ve known since 1970, came down specially from Nottingham. 

So many thanks for all your best wishes during a year which has already seen me successfully operated on for cancer. I know it must have been my day because I didn’t have a hangover! 

Busy year ahead for Weymouth’s new mayor

ANYONE notice all those recent gusts of hot air? They were politicians breathing a sigh of relief as they got re-elected… or not as the case may be.

There were the usual thrills and spills, fervent promises to faithfully represent the residents who so warmly put a cross in the right place, all the usual stuff.

But our councillors don’t have much time to catch their breath before they have to take part in the first major post-election event of the new political year, the grand Mayor Making ceremony which this year will be held at the Riviera Hotel at Bowleaze Cove.

It takes place tomorrow night (May 29th) when the great and the good will gather to watch current Deputy Mayor, Councillor Kate Wheller, assume the highest civic office in the borough.

It will catapult her into a hectic year of hundreds of official engagements including the merry-go-round of summer season events which seem to occur on almost every day.

Councillor Wheller is already a familiar figure but she will become even more widely known in a remarkably short space of time as she attends everything from fetes to fairs and from markets to meetings, openings and major events such as the annual carnival.

So wish her well as she prepares to assume office. It is going to be a busy time for her.

Don’t mess with a squirrel when there’s food about

SQUIRRELS seem to be in aggressive food collecting mode… and they aren’t taking nonsense from anyone!

The ones frequenting my garden keep burying provisions in my lawn – hasn’t anyone told them it’s a bit early to prepare for winter – and woe betide any cat passing near which gets indignantly chased off.

Then there are those squirrels in the nearby cemetery, normally placid creatures unafraid of passing people, but who now call angrily at pedestrians as they explore beneath the trees.

Even squirrels closer to town seem set on repelling all borders as they dart along fence tops or patrol gardens.

So I’m wondering if the wettest weather in history has rotted their buried winter supplies and forced them to be a little fiercer in their foraging.

Whatever the reason, they are certainly a lot friskier than they usually are.

Whose nerves will break first?

THEY’VE got kings’ ransoms to spend on support for new high speed rail links yet the Government tells us that it doesn’t have a paltry £10 million for berth conversion work to keep Condor ferries in Weymouth.

Such a sum is beyond most of us but it is chickenfeed to the political coffers of Whitehall and that, of course, is key to why a recent delegation to the Big City had no luck loosening a few Government purse strings.

There were the usual “very sympathetic to what you say”, “always supported the idea of ferries” and “would help if we could” type of comments, but the bottom line was, as my old boss would say: “Your story has deeply touched me. Now go away and stop bothering me”.

Government finds it difficult to focus on anything south of Westminster Bridge, so Weymouth is back once more with the thorny problem of how to both keep Condoor Ferries and find £10 million to pay for the work to do so.

Someone somewhere is going to have to back down. It is just a question of whose nerve breaks first.

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